Bertha's Candidate Survey Responses




(Responses from other ANC candidates are available at


SURVEY PURPOSE:  “ ….  Greater Greater Washington readers are informed and active citizens in their neighborhoods, and want to know more about the candidates they are electing to represent them.”  The survey responses of ANC candidates will help GGW readers and other voters make informed decisions.  The survey consists of two types of questions:  a) Neighborhood/ANC- specific questions and (b) City-wide questions.

RESPONDENT:  Bertha Holliday; incumbent, ANC 5E07 with boundaries of North Capitol NW to 2nd St. NW and U St. NW to Randolph Place, NW



1.    What do you see as the future of the McMillan Sand Filtration site? How long will we have to wait to realize your vision?                                                                                                                                                      

Bertha’s Response.  If you haven’t been on this site, you probably don’t understand why it generates such great passion among advocates of all stripes.  Well, it is an extremely well-located, gorgeous site with drop-dead views in every direction, and enormous potential for significant and positive impact on  its abutting neighborhoods. But the Developers’ well-funded community/neighborhood outreach efforts often fail to seriously address (or outright dismiss) community concerns—and thus promote divisiveness/opposition rather than increased unity/support. 

Some of the most critical neighborhood concerns are:   (a)  the development's impact on traffic and the restricted street grid  south of Bryant Street NW , and related quality of life in abutting neighborhoods; (b) the  absence of public announcement of a major tenant for the 'healthcare building' (the development's "economic engine") and the specific uses of that 750,000 sq.ft. building, and associated concerns about the development’s financial viability; (c) the spatial separation /racial segregation of residences for market rate tenants and 50%-60% AMI senior citizens (with annual incomes of more than $50,000 - $60,000) in the Parcel 4 building: (d)  the  continuing reluctance to establish a sustainable partnership with community representatives related to  planning, development, and  operation of the development's public benefits, facilities and spaces; and (e) the continuing controversy related to the development's compatibility  (re density and land use) with the City's Comprehensive Plan. These are substantive concerns that most likely will periodically re-emerge -- possibly resulting in  delays, modifications, and increased costs. 


2.   What is your opinion of the Rhode Island Shopping Center (Forman Mills) redevelopment?

 Bertha’s Response:  The proposed development will provide needed improvements in services and housing. And I am   pleased with its community benefits package.  However, development in this area of the city is also resulting in a great deal of displacement. I am concerned that the proposed Rhode Island development include more 'affordable' units, with AMI  levels that would attract some of the area’s current residents.  I also hope some of the shopping center's most successful businesses are provided an opportunity to relocate to the new development.  Indeed, the proposed development's phased construction (and phased demolition of the existing shopping center) could readily accommodate such relocation.



1.   How would you like your neighborhood to look in 20 years? How will you help bring that about?

Bertha’s Response:  I would like the residential enclave of Bloomingdale to maintain its historic, unique and stunning architectural integrity.  I would like Bloomingdale to be a model stable, thriving, diverse and inclusive neighborhood that is characterized by (a) multi-racial/ethnic and intersecting diversity and (b) an increased mix of businesses, services, and social/cultural institutions.  In short, I envision a neighborhood whose character is both organic and intentional—derived in part from residents’ active civic participation and engagement.

This vision has guided the development of the Bloomingdale Village Square (BVS) Project, which I co-direct with funding to date provided by DC Humanities Council, Bloomingdale Civic Association, ANC 5E, and several neighborhood businesses. The project seeks to strengthen community identity and sense of 'place' through resident engagement, and documentation/education related to neighborhood history, heritage, and enhancement of architecture and public space design and use.  The BVS Architecture and Design Plan (developed by Bloomingdale architects, designers, planners and other residents) focuses on the entire neighborhood-- but especially its commercial areas. This plan is also highly contextualized and detailed-- including locations for each recommended improvement.  BVS is now in the implementation stage --seeking to develop project funding and management partnerships with DC Government and private and corporate foundations  For more info re BVS-- go to


2.   Assume your ANC will definitely be adding more housing. Where would be the best place for it?

Bertha’s Response:  The bulk of new housing will probably be located in the northeast portion of the ANC5E where there is more vacant land and underutilized and abandoned buildings. However additional development should include consideration of existing historical resources, neighborhood infrastructure, environmental issues, relocation impacts, and community/neighborhood benefits and costs.  As development increasingly encroaches  on long-established residential neighborhoods, the 'metro station' model of more dense mixed-use development,  will increasingly become problematic and in need of significant creative modification in response to the extant  cultures, interests, needs, infrastructure, and politics of established residential neighborhoods.


3.   Where would you like to see new bicycle lanes, sidewalks, or other infrastructure to make it safer for residents, families, and seniors to walk and bike?

Bertha’s Response: See BVS Architectural and Design Plan where specific locations for such improvements are identified.


 4.   If there were a way to improve bus transit in your neighborhood, but it required removing on-street parking, how would you approach the situation?

Bertha’s Response:  This is an issue of balance.  Although Bloomingdale is a highly 'walkable' neighborhood that attracts transit users, it also has a rapidly growing population and commercial sector -- resulting in a significant net increase in autos and on- and off-street parking. Consequently, assuming the above scenario, I would request detailed information as to how many on-street parking spaces would be lost and where, and the need for, and benefits and costs of improved bus service.  I would urge DDOT and WMATA to conduct a Town Hall meeting for residents.   If residents desire improved bus service, then I would advocate that the City require any new major neighborhood development  of a certain size include off-street parking for building tenants as well as a limited number of  off-street parking spaces reserved for the general public (with metered and monthly rates). This would serve to increase access to neighborhood businesses and services (especially on North Capitol St.), while providing some compensation for lost on-street parking spaces.  


5.   What is the biggest controversy in your neighborhood not already listed on this questionnaire, and what is your position on it?

Bertha’s Response:  Historic neighborhood designation.  I support.


6.   Why do you think you are the best person to represent your SMD?

Bertha’s Response:   I have lived in Bloomingdale for more than 25 years, and witnessed a variety of changes -- both positive and negative. During nearly all of those years, I have been actively involved in Bloomingdale's changing needs and civic life.  I understand the dynamics of multiple diversities and the promotion of civic participation, which I believe are the cornerstones of successful urban residential neighborhoods.  Consequently, as a proven community activist and advocate (and NOT a single-issue candidate), I seek to listen, incorporate the perspectives of others, and assume positions that are inclusive, fair and balanced.   I am a voice with an articulated vision.  For more related information, go to

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